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tv   Washington Week With Gwen Ifill  PBS  October 10, 2014 8:00pm-8:31pm EDT

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gwen: news everywhere you look, from ebola to same-sex marriage. from memoir politics to senate politics. we'll cover it all tonight on "washington week." >> we have to work now so that this is not the world's next -- gwen: the ebola panic, how the u.s. is stepping in to stop its spread. >> we're not going to compromise the health and safety of our armed services, but what's true is we have unique capabilities that nobody else has. gwen: more than 4,000 dead in west africa as the world braces for more. at the supreme court, the day the court stepped out of the same-sex marriage detective, a ying the way for legalization in as many as 30 states. >> it won't be long before the whole country recognizes that
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all families deserve all equal rights all the time. gwen: but is the debate ending or taking on a new form? leon panetta, former top ade of the president, directs criticism at the man he once served. >> in is not the time to get in the trenches and not say anything. gwen: plus, the topsy-turvy senate mid terms. covering the week, alexis simendinger, white house correspondent for realclearpolitics. pete williams, justice correspondent for nbc news. gloria borger, chief political analyst at cnn and karen tumulty, national political reporter for the "washington post." >> award-winning reporting and ants. -- analysis. covering history as it happens. live from our nation's capitol, this is "washington week with
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gwen ifill." corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> how much money do you have in your pocket right now? >> $40. >> 21. >> could something that small make an impact on something as big as you have retirement? >> no. >> well, if you start putting that money towards your retirement and let it grow over time for 20,30 years, that retirement challenge might not seem to big after all. ♪ >> the future of surgery is within sight. our research is studying hour real time multimoe tallty imagery during surgery can help precision and outcome. reagan and women's hospital. it all starts here. >> funding for "washington week" is also provided by -- the annenberg foundation, the
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corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to pbs stations from viewers like you. thank you. once again, live from washington, moderator gwen ifill. gwen: good evening. the u.s. government is struggling tonight to do its participate to curb not only the outbreak of ebola in west africa but also the outbreak of panic here at home. the disease claimed its first victim this week in dallas and although no one has yet contracted it here, new security restrictions are in place at five of the nation's big hospitals. health and human services secretary silvia burwell. >> the numbers are going to increase before we get to a leveling off point but everyday those on the ground efforts, it is important there is urgency. it is about days. gwen: is this an all hand on
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deck effort crisis here and abroad? >> in the united states i think the answer, at least there week, has been yes and what's been interesting is the two sides of this. as you point out, the president and the administration working hard to keep the level of anxiety in a controlled state in the united states with just one -- obviously with just one ebola-enfected -- infected patient in dallas. talking to state and local health officials to try to get them ramped up to be prepared. the airport, which was not something that the administration initially wanted to do but the concern was that in congress and elsewhere there was maybe a call for rolling the drawbridges up, right? to put a travel ban in place. so the administration has been very concerned about the preparedness and the anxiety. internationally what we've seen from the centers for disease control of prevention, at the
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world health organization, the u.n., some of the sound that you played is a level of anxiety ramping up the rhetoric about what's happening in the continent of africa. gwen: like the swine flu that never really in the end poseed that great a threat here but which was ravaging other places and at some point reaction always seems to be just do something. >> dr. frieden from the c.d.c. was talking to be concern of this being like aids. we've been dealing with aids for decades and 39 million people have died from aids and it's still here, still with us. as you point out, the balance here is administration and health officials trying to remind people in the united states and in the developed world this is not something that we're going to see as a massive epidemic. but he's talking about these countries in africa, sierra
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leone and guinea. they face the possibility of their livelihoods being wiped out. >> in this country people look at the response in dallas and go wait a minute. that was full of a lot of holes and that's what makes everyone so nervous. >> one of the things uncovered this week is that thomas eric duncan, the liberian national who died after seeking care in dallas, turned out that when he did come to the hospital, he had a temperature of 103 degrees and his family was able to get the health records. the associated press and other news organizations saw it and you can see in the records the doctor's description so you're absolutely right. what happened there at that hospital and the hospital has changed its story about what has happened, is a lesson that at least here in washington, the folks at the white house are very much a are trying to
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use that to spread the message, get ready. >> this idea, though, that you're going to be screening people at these five airports -- this is a disease that has an ink base period of 20, 21 days so you're taking people's temperatures. they're coming through the airport. what effectively are you going to accomplish by that? is it going to actually stop the spread or just make people feel like something is being done? >> the government says about 150 folks travel from the affected countries in west africa a day into the united states through these major airport mostly and that most of them, as we've seen in the last two months, the folks who've traveled, there's been exit screening of them when they've departed and there has been a sweep that captured 70 people that maybe seemed ill and none of them had ebola and the only
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case we've seen in the united states, he had no signs coming into the united states. past the disease detectivives. this is very much, i think, an effort to try to allay anxiety to aid this -- add this layer. great britain has added this also in the major throughways in great britain and it may hold back this push for the travel ban. >> back to dallas for a second. is the concern that they released him that that jeopardized his care or put him back into the community where he could potentially affect others? >> both is assessment has been if he had been hospitalized immediately, it would have cut down on the range of people he was then in contact with the question that's also being asked, would we have lived? gwen: let's move on. i have a hard time remembering
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the last time the supreme court's refusal to step into a legal issue had such immediate effect. that's what happened in week when the high court announced that in five cases it would allow states to decide for themselves whether people of the same sex should be allowed to marry and late today the court allowed marriages to begin in hollywood and north carolina as well, which mean a majority of states now have marriage bans that have been declared unconsal. is that right? >> -- unconstitutional. is that right? >> that's right. it's not over because first of all we have these aftershocks. it's been like covering an election today waiting for all the different states to chime in the second thing is that the supreme court -- we had this tidal wave of rulings in the past year and a half and they were all building up but there were holds placed on all of
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supreme court, we thought the last word. now they say all those court rulings that were waiting kick into effect. the same-sex marriage thing has moved so fast. one week ago viewers of your program were watching while it was legal in 1 states. now it's 28 and could be 129 before we're all the -- 29 before we're all the -- off the air. in the supreme court, the lower courts had all reached the same conclusion and said we cannot constitutionally ban a same-sex marriage. if they say oh, yeah, states can can ban it, then i think the supreme court would take this case. >> the american public opinion has shift sod dramatically on the question. when proposition eight first became a court issue, the
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majority of the country was against same-sex marriage. now a majority of the country supports same-sex marriage. it seems to me that the court is saying we're just going to let the country decide this one. we're not going to do the heavy lift. >> that's one possibility. we just don't know why they took a pass on those cases. it could be. nine justices, four of them each side, yes or no. they don't know where justice kennedy is, they didn't want to take a chance. it could also be the old-fashioned way. they don't take cases when there isn't a circuit split and there wasn't one here. we could be up to 35 states here pretty soon by the time the court may get around to taking this again. >> can you explain to us why then this was a surprise? >> actually, i had a bet with joan on your program last year and i said this is -- i was one of the few who thought they
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wouldn't take this if there was no circuit split. but i was still surprised and here's why we thought it was a surprise. number one, all these cases came in where both the people who opposed and the states defending their same-sex marriage ban said please take my case. so all the parties were unanimous in saying take it. secondly it does have an air of inevitability about it. everybody realize that is ultimately the supreme court is probably going to have to take it so what was the point of wait something we don't know the answer. >> public opinion is coming this way and one time the supreme court did get ahead of social change was roe v. wade. and the outcome of that was a social battle that still goes on. was that programs part of their reasoning, to sort of let this proceed and not get ahead of it? >> i suspect for some justices it was.
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ruth bader ginsberg made a speech at a law school before the court came into effect where she sort of said there's no point for us to get into it now. however, it isn't over. it does seem that the longer it goes it does seem to be going in pretty much one direction and if the court were to say now we're going to decide after permitting all these other marriages to happen, that would be a weird thing if they suddenly said before we let you get married, guess what, you're not married. gwen: advocates for gay marriage said they're still not happy because it still leaves in place a match work every state or circuit can do what it does kind of deal. that's also room for the challenge to be forced, right? >> there are those saying this is the supreme court's job to make these big decisions. however, the supreme court likes to think of itself as not the place where you go to have justice but the place where you
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get the law ironed out so it's uniform around the country and all the supreme court rules -- rulings have been the same. so what was there for the supreme court to do? >> with interracial marriage. and then as in that the public followed. >> the supreme court took a pass on gay marriage and interracial marriage until more and more of the states came around. by the time they decided loving vs. virginia in 16 there were very few states left. >> is that the model? >> some people think so gwen: we'll see. full disclosure, everyone at this table has met or covered leon panetta, the former c.i.a. director and .secretary. he's been around for a long time. his praise and criticism has caused quite a stir here in washington. we talked to him about his new
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book "worthy fights." part of his tra teak is the president's handling of the new war against isis. >> i think the position is that when you're commander in chief you really ought to keep all options on the table to be able to have the flexibility to do what is necessary in order to defeat this enemy. to make those air strikes work, you don't just send planes in this drop bombs. gwen: gloria, after having read the book and interviewed him, why is he saying all this now? >> he's trying to sell books, number one and i think in talking to him that he wants to give leadership advice to the presidents, to the country, to the world. this is a man who's been in public service for 40 years and he has a lot to say that's positive about president obama, the man who made the decision to go after osama bin laden, which he called a gutsy
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decision. there are a lot of people around the table who disagree with him on that go order but he did it. with the president who he feels thing done the right with the syria chemical weapons issue, with keeping the residual force in iraq. i think what he's trying to do in this book is talk about leadership. when you talk to people in the a te house, they'll say it's betrayal of him. that he's talking a good game now but not what he sounded like when he was in the white house. when i asked him whether it was a betrayal or you should be doing this -- joe biden said couldn't you wait until the guy is out of office? his answer was you don't put a hold on history. gwen: some do. after george w. bush was out of office, we got emails from condoleezza rice and dick cheney and stay pointed fingers
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at 50e67 other. >> this president has had bill gates. hill rill clinton. i this isn't unprecedented but i think that you have two people on the national security team, gates and panetta who have both come out making the same critique and i it's really about leadership, i think. >> when i was a young reporter on capitol hill and you were on the hill -- >> you're both still young. >> i love you. >> we both remember leon panetta from the hill. >> what about karen? >> we were all there. [laughter] >> but what i want to know is leon panetta was talking about congress and he's comparing president clinton and president obama and it's very interesting. what does he say in the book? >> he writes about working for bill clinton and the joy in politics that bill clinton took and what he effectively says is
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bill clinton would make any deal with you and what he was great at was convincing you that what he wanted was actually good for you and that's why he could cut deals. his point about this president is that president obama loves the policy part of it and he's brilliant at it but he says the deal-making part of it, the political part of it, not so much. that's not one of his great skills and he urges the president, for the next years, if he wants to have a legacy that deals with things like immigration reform to actually start doing more of that so programs we could get more done. >> does the white house think this is a problem and if so how are they planning to push back? >> they're pushing back on it. they like leon panetta. they don't want to overtly sort of attack him but what they're saying is look, he's talking a
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different game than he talked when he was -- he supported the president's policy on not leaving the residual force in iraq at the time and that he was the good soldier. when i asked him did you think about resigning when you disagreed with the president on all these issues? he said no, he's the president of the united states. he makes a decision, you salute and move on. it's very different once you're out of office. pretty soon we're going to have presidents signing nondisclosure forms for anybody who's a top advisor. however, don't forget, in the end, president obama will write his version of history. joe biden will write his version of history and we're going to have to compare and contrast, right? gwen: and i have to say that karen pointed out to me today that leon panetta has done a tell-all before when he was working for richard nixon. >> very good point. gwen: we're a month away from the critical midterm elections and in many states voting is
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already under way and it turns out the balance of power in the senate may still be up in the air, thanks to tight races in south dakota, kansas, georgia, north carolina and even perhaps kentucky. the president is not on the ballot but he kind of the. listen to a bit of this week's north carolina senate debate. >> senator haggan's voted with president obama 9 % of the time. she served as a rubber stamp for president obama's failed policies. >> i have been ranked the most moderate senator in the country by the nonpartisan "national journal." they rank senators one to 100. i am smack dab in the middle. that means i can work across the aisle. gwen: and in kentucky, the democrat running against mitch mcconnell won't even admit he voted for president obama. is he the reason things is so tight? >> absolutely. you listen to that kay haggan-tillis exchange there.
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i cannot recall an election that has been so generics where you go from state to state and hear exactly the same lines. the republicans say my opponent voted with president obama fill in the number percent of the time. the democrat says no, i'm an independent voice and beside, that person is too extreme. the script in every state appears to be the same and it is about president obama but another reason things are so close and so hard to figure out what direction they're going is that the democrats are relying on a lot of the things that president obama did in his own campaign to bring out the parts of the electorate that they need. to reach the sophisticated techniques to reach voters, motivate them, bring them out, in places like colorado, for instance, for the first time voters are going to have -- every single voter will have a house. ailed to their
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they can sign up and register to vote on the same day as the election. so it is true, i think, that for better and worse, and probably more for worse because president obama is a great weight on these democratic candidates. it is an election about barack obama. >> is it major obamacare or broad -- broader than that? >> it's much broader that that. i think all of the things that are roiling the news now have come back as a question of president obama ice expense. a botched rollout of harang, children at the border. isis, ebola. you name it and it is all getting into the narrative. people are anxious. >> it's not just in the red states that a lot of these senate candidates don't want the president -- you were just in colorado, west virginia, iowa. states where he has been popular. suddenly all these states are
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saying don't campaign for me. >> sometimes it seems to me that it's also that people are rung against washington. so you have independents in kansas all of a sudden coming out of nowhere. >> and k.d. -- south dakota of all -- gwen: tell us about south dakota. >> an extremely red state that was on nobody's radar screen until this week and all of a sudden you have larry pressler, who used to be a republican, now running as an independent in south dakota. that is a three-way race that is so close that the way you can tell that people take this seriously, the democrats are putting a million dollars into south dakota. >> the question is will independent voters come out in states like kansas and south dakota in a midterm election when there's nobody at the top of the ticket running for president? >> and kansas, there's an interesting situation. there we have an independent candidate running against a
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republican and the -- pat roberts, the incumbent, and the democrats has just dropped out of the race so presumably all the democratic votes to the degree they're there will go to the independent and possibly a lot of republican votes as well so what you've seen is this rescue squad of every single faction of the republican party is there. you have ted cruz, sarah palin, bob dole. they're all there trying to save pat roberts. >> for those of us who look at the calendar and hope this could be over on election night, are we going to be disappointed? will america be seeing this go on for days? >> i think that would be fun. >> they may be counting ballots in the precincts of alaska for weeks. there could be a runoff in louisiana in december and here's another state on the screen, wasn't there a few weeks ago, georgia. is suddenly where we
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have -- it's looking a lot closer than people thought and if that's the case, the runoff is in jan. -- january. gwen: thank you, everybody. reindeer. we have to go now but as always, the conversation continues online. the webcast streams live and plus you can find it all week long. we'll talk about how president obama's secret weapon may be the cash he's raise fg candidates. keep up with me and judy woodruff on the pbs news hours and we'll see you here next week on "washington week." good night.
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>> corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> the future of surgery is within sight. our research is studying how real-time multimodality imagery during surgery can help precision and outcome. women's hospital. it all starts here. >> additional corporate fund for "washington week" is provided by prudential. additional funding is provided by the annenberg foundation, the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to pbs stations from viewers like you. thank you.
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